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ZSH Literary

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth

A Literary & Entertainment Agency

Boston | New York

Inside ZSH

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth is a full-service literary agency with a reputation for working with high quality authors who create deeply intelligent, beautifully crafted works intended for a wide audience. We represent literary, commercial and inspirational fiction, memoirs, biography, history, science, narrative non-fiction and prescriptive books in the areas of business, health, relationships, religion/spirituality, food and wine, fitness, parenting and general psychology.

World-class agents

ZSH agents bring years of global professional experience to all their relationships.

An eye for talent

We have a proven track record of finding and cultivating talented, visionary creatives.

Strong editorial

We place strong emphasis on quality in writing and expressing compelling ideas.

Skilled negotiators

We place projects with major publishers in the US and throughout the world.

Our work

The agents at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth are respected across the industry for our eye for talent, our strong editorial skills, our negotiating ability, the success of our books and our strong relationships with clients, publishers, film and television producers and other media firms.

In addition to placing projects with all the major publishers in the United States—Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Little, Brown, Hachette, Macmillan—we sell our authors' works directly in the United Kingdom and, through a network of first-rate sub-agents, in territories throughout the world.

A full-service entertainment agency, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, has built a sterling reputation in the film and television industries. Each year, we place projects with large film studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, and Fox, major television networks such as CBS, ABC, and NBC and cable networks such as FX, Lifetime, and HBO.

We are also skilled at placing our clients' work in magazines and selling audio and internet rights to books.

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Our Agents

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth is a team of accomplished professionals with dozens of years of collective experience across all media.

Lane Zachary
Lane Zachary
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Todd Shuster
Todd Shuster
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Esmond Harmsworth
Esmond Harmsworth
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Jennifer Gates
Jennifer Gates
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Janet Silver
Janet Silver
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Bridget Wagner Matzie
Bridget Wagner Matzie
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Jane von Mehren
Jane von Mehren
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Rick Richter
Rick Richter
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Nan Thornton
Nan Thornton
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Chelsey Heller
Chelsey Heller
Full bio

Services

  • Book Representation

    We represent literary, commercial and inspirational fiction, memoirs, biography, history, science, narrative non-fiction and prescriptive books in the areas of business, health, relationships, religion/spirituality, food and wine, fitness, parenting and general psychology.

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  • Films & TV

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  • Editorial Services & Book Development

    ZSH Literary offers a full range of high-quality editorial and writing services to authors and individuals at every stage of the book development process. Our staff is composed of individuals with decades of experience working with the world's largest and most successful trade publishing houses.

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  • "Books Plus"

    Book Plus provides the ultimate training and support for thinkers and organizations with new talents and insights, helping them shape their key messages, reach and influence a wide audience, and rise to the very top of their respective professions.

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  • Book Trailers & Professional Video Development

    Whether you're an author or a literary agent, an editor or a publicist, please feel free to contact us about the book trailer or other video you have in mind. Many of the producers with whom we work have years of documentary film making and/or network television experience.

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Rights

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth's clients' books have been published all over the world in different languages; many have been adapted into feature films, television series and documentaries; some have been adapted into art forms as diverse as operas, radio plays, theatrical plays and dramatic audio books.

Any inquiries concerning the availability of subsidiary rights to a ZSH project should be made in writing to Chelsey Heller at cheller@zshliterary.com.

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Award-winning Work

Here are a few select titles from our clients.

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A Carnivore's Inquiry
By Sabina Murray | Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004

When we meet Katherine, the winning-and rather disturbing-twenty-three-year-old narrator of A Carnivore's Inquiry, she has just left Italy and arrived in New York City, but what has propelled her there is a mystery. Katherine's occasional allusions to a frighteningly eccentric mother and tyrannical father suggest a somberness at the center of her otherwise flippant and sardonic demeanor. Soon restless, she begins journeying from literary New York to rural Maine and Mexico City, trailed, everywhere she goes, by a string of murders. As the ritualistic killings begin to pile up, Katherine comforts and inspires herself by meditating on cannibalism in literature, art, and history. The story races toward a hair-raising conclusion, while Katherine, and the reader, close in on the reasons for both her and her mother's fascination with aberrant, violent behavior. This is a novel of ideas, a shocking and enlightening modern Gothic, and a brilliantly subtle commentary on twenty-first-century consumerism and Western culture's obsession with new frontiers. Told in highly intelligent prose reminiscent of Patrick McGrath or Angela Carter, A Carnivore's Inquiry is a sly, unsettling exploration of the questionable appetites that lurk beneath the veneer of North American civilization.

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
By Anthony Marra | Hogarth, 2013

Winner: National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize; Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction; Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award

Two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child in this majestic debut about love, loss, and the unexpected ties that bind us together. "On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones." Havaa, eight years old, hides in the woods and watches the blaze until her neighbor, Akhmed, discovers her sitting in the snow. Akhmed knows getting involved means risking his life, and there is no safe place to hide a child in a village where informers will do anything for a loaf of bread, but for reasons of his own, he sneaks her through the forest to the one place he thinks she might be safe: an abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded. Though Sonja protests that her hospital is not an orphanage, Akhmed convinces her to keep Havaa for a trial, and over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja's world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.

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A Map of Betrayal
By Ha Jin | Pantheon, 2014

When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father's diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed—and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China. As Lilian follows her father's trail back into the Chinese provinces, she begins to grasp the extent of his dilemma: he is a man torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country. She sees how his sense of duty distorted his life, and as she starts to understand that Gary too had been betrayed, Lilian finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from endangering yet another generation of Shangs.

A stunning portrait of a multinational family and an unflinching inquiry into the meaning of citizenship, patriotism, and home, A Map of Betrayal is a spy novel that only Ha Jin could write.

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A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life
By Governor Deval Patrick | Broadway Books, 2011

In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. But that was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In this heartfelt and inspirational book, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. In doing so, he reminds us of the power of community and the imperative of idealism. With humility, humor, and grace, he offers a road map for attaining happiness, empowerment, and success while also making an appeal for readers to cultivate those achievements in others, to feel a greater stake in this world, and to shape a life worth living.

Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient.

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Eva's Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends
By Eva Longoria | Clarkson Potter/Random House, 2011

Eva Longoria may be most recognized for her role as Desperate Housewives' saucy Gabrielle Solis, but on her own time, there are few places she would rather be than in the kitchen, cooking the food she loves for her family and friends. Here is the food Eva loves to eat, and the recipes in Eva's Kitchen trace her life story, taking readers on her culinary journey—from the food she was brought up on to the recipes inspired by her travels abroad to the dishes she serves during casual nights at home.

Having grown up on a ranch with every meal based on what was in the family fields, Eva believes, like so many of us, that good cooking relies on local, fresh, easy-to-find ingredients. In Eva's Kitchen, she teaches readers essential cooking skills and she sprinkles in the histories and traditions behind her favorite dishes, including personal stories and anecdotes that capture the warmth, humor, and joy of her most memorable meals.

In her first cookbook, Eva welcomes you into her kitchen, offering 100 of her favorite dishes—many of which are family recipes collected over the years—all fused with her passion for cooking. She also shares memories of her Texas ranch upbringing, her very first cooking adventures, vacations overseas, nights in with her girlfriends, and last-minute pre–red carpet meals.

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Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
By Gail Caldwell | Random House, 2010

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"It's an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too."

So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.

They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen.

The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. Let's Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection—and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices.

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Life.Love.Beauty
By Keegan Allen | St. Martin's Press, 2015

Keegan Allen is the international breakout star of ABC Family's hit television series, Pretty Little Liars. A gifted photographer and writer—and a dazzling film, television, and stage actor now counting millions of fans across the globe—Keegan Allen brings tremendous talent and energy to his first publishing project.

Keegan tells a unique story with his photographs. On one hand, the book is a beautifully candid view into the glamour and timelessness of Hollywood, a mysterious yet wildly alluring place. One the other hand, it is a blissfully unassuming portrait of ordinary life—the unknown young woman gazing dreamily from the balcony of her hotel room, or the old woman who walks the same street every morning in her pink bathrobe, just to stop and talk to a passerby.

Through his own stunning photography and captivating prose and poetry, life. love. beauty chronicles the author's life growing up just off the Sunset Strip, coming into his own as a young aspiring actor, looking for love and understanding, negotiating the seductions and disappointments of Hollywood, landing a plum role in a hit television series, encountering and embracing his fans, traveling the globe to promote his work, and striving to stay connected to his closest friends and loved ones.

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The Inheritance
By Louisa May Alcott | Dutton/Penguin, 1997

Louisa May Alcott, who spent much of her childhood amid an intellectual circle that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, embarked on her own literary efforts at an early age. Her recently discovered first novel, The Inheritance, written when Alcott was just 17, offers readers a fascinating look at the birth of a remarkable career. Influenced by the melodrama of the contemporary theater, the sentimental romances she read as a child, and the popular gothic novels of the time, Alcott weaves a tale far removed from the reality of her everyday life in Boston. The Inheritance, set in an English country manor, is the story of Edith Adelon, an Italian orphan brought to England by Lord Hamilton as a companion for his children. With a charm reminiscent of Jane Austen's novels, Alcott's plot sets love and courtesy against depravity and dishonor—and with the help of a secret inheritance, allows virtue to prevail. In their Introduction, Joel Myerson and Daniel Shealy relate their fortuitous discovery of Alcott's manuscript draft of The Inheritance (preserved at the Houghton Library of Harvard). They explore the forces—both literary and personal—that shaped the novel, and study how it foreshadowed Alcott's later work.

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The Manual of Detection
By Jedediah Berry | Penguin Press, 2009

Winner: Crawford Fantasy Award; Dashiell Hammett Prize

In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed with only an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams. In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin is a humble file clerk working for a huge and imperious detective agency, and all he knows about solving mysteries comes from filing reports for the illustrious investigator Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing, and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren't so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection. The Manual of Detection defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realized novel that will change what you think about how you think.

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The Memory Palace
By Mira Bartok | Free Press, 2011

A New York Times Bestseller; Winner: National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography)

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this poignant literary memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and family's capacity for forgiveness.

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The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories
By Marina Keegan | Scribner, 2014

A New York Times Bestseller

An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.

Marina Keegan's star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, "The Opposite of Loneliness," went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.

Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assem­blage of Marina's essays and stories that, like "The Last Lecture," articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

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The Pursuit of Happyness
By Chris Gardner | Amistad, 2006

Winner: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Biography/Autobriography)

At the age of twenty, Milwaukee native Chris Gardner, just out of the Navy, arrived in San Francisco to pursue a promising career in medicine. Considered a prodigy in scientific research, he surprised everyone and himself by setting his sights on the competitive world of high finance. Yet no sooner had he landed an entry-level position at a prestigious firm than Gardner found himself caught in a web of incredibly challenging circumstances that left him as part of the city's working homeless and with a toddler son. Motivated by the promise he made to himself as a fatherless child to never abandon his own children, the two spent almost a year moving among shelters, "HO-tels," soup lines, and even sleeping in the public restroom of a subway station.

Never giving in to despair, Gardner made an astonishing transformation from being part of the city's invisible poor to being a powerful player in its financial district.

More than a memoir of Gardner's financial success, this is the story of a man who breaks his own family's cycle of men abandoning their children. Mythic, triumphant, and unstintingly honest, The Pursuit of Happyness conjures heroes like Horatio Alger and Antwone Fisher, and appeals to the very essence of the American Dream.

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The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
By Amanda Ripley | Simon & Schuster, 2013

A New York Times Bestseller

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.

What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers?

In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, exchanges a high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many "smart" kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.

A journalistic tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake.

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Waiting
By Ha Jin | Pantheon, 2000

Winner: National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award; Finalist: Pulitzer Prize

The demands of human longing contend with the weight of centuries of custom in acclaimed author Ha Jin's Waiting, a novel of unexpected richness and universal resonance. Every summer Lin Kong, a doctor in the Chinese Army, returns to his village to end his loveless marriage with the humble and touchingly loyal Shuyu. But each time Lin must return to the city to tell Manna Wu, the educated, modern nurse he loves, that they will have to postpone their engagement once again. Caught between conflicting claims of these two utterly different women and trapped by a culture in which adultery can ruin lives and careers, Lin has been waiting for eighteen years. This year, he promises, will be different.

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Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice
By Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy | W. W. Norton & Co., 2013

A New York Times Bestseller

Raised in a South Boston housing project, James "Whitey" Bulger became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. In this riveting story, rich with family ties and intrigue, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow Whitey's extraordinary criminal career—from teenage thievery to bank robberies to the building of his underworld empire and a string of brutal murders.

Based on exclusive access and previously undisclosed documents, Cullen and Murphy explore the truth of the Whitey Bulger story. They reveal for the first time the extent of his two parallel family lives with different women, as well as his lifelong paranoia stemming in part from his experience in the CIA's MKULTRA program. They describe his support of the IRA and his hitherto-unknown role in the Boston busing crisis, and they show a keen understanding of his mindset while on the lam and behind bars. The result is the first full portrait of this legendary criminal figure—a gripping story of wiseguys and cops, horrendous government malfeasance, and a sixteen-year manhunt that climaxed in Whitey's dramatic capture in Santa Monica in June 2011. With a new afterword covering the trial, this book promises to become a true-crime classic.

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
By Cheryl Strayed | Vintage Books, 2013

A National Bestseller; An "Oprah Book Club" Selection; Winner: Barnes & Noble Discover Award, Indie Choice Award, Oregon Book Award, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, Midwest Booksellers Choice Award

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

@ZSHLiterary

RT @Patricia Park: #rejane in latest issue of @Cosmopolitan! #cosmoreads #summereads http://t.co/fQ93DuhDlJ
These strays in Ukraine aren't formally trained, but they're #wardogs nonetheless, @becksfrankel reports: http://t.co/QV9pTpX5Hf
32 Perfect Books To Kick Off Your Book Club http://t.co/9k27hJLApM @BuzzFeedBooks @SarahEvonne
.@becksfrankel's War Dogs of the Week: Ukraine's strays (heart-meltingly cute, cuter, and cutest) http://t.co/QV9pTpX5Hf
8 great movies about leaving home to find yourself http://t.co/R42aOSW6zq @Salon @CherylStrayed
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Latest News & Press

2015

April

  • We are thrilled to announce that Lily Brooks Dalton's memoir Motorcycles I've Loved won an Elle Magazine Lettre's April 2015 Reader's Prize.
  • Congratulations to Anthony Marra, who was awarded a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • Fortune called Fred Kiel's groundbreaking leadership book, Return on Character, "persuasive" and "riveting," while Strategy + Business says of the book, "It's rare to find a business book that... makes one want to cheer both the author and the cause he champions."
  • Ha Jin revealed thoughts on patriotism, exile, and his novel A Map of Betrayal in a compelling New York Times Q&A.
  • Forgiveness 4 You by Ann Bauer was deemed worthy of being the next hit rom-com in Slate's rave review. The Wall Street Journal, reviewing the endgame, wrote, "this is an intelligent, thought-provoking and quietly unnerving work about the corporatization of holy offices. I don't even think one can call it a satire, which may be the most troubling thing about it."
  • Oscar-nominated Taraji P. Henson,…

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Contact Us

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Please use the email form to contact members of our staff.

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Boston
  • Tel 617.262.2400
  • Fax 617.262.2468
New York
  • Tel 212.765.6900
Boston
  • 545 Boylston St, 11th Fl
  • Boston, MA 02116
New York
  • 1776 Broadway, Ste 1405
  • New York, NY 10019